My trip to Raub

Posted by Lakshmi

It was Tuesday, 3rd March and I had the most wonderful time at a true blue durian orchard in Raub, Pahang . The only long distance drive I had done was to Kajang and that to because of my art class. Imagine my excitement when I actually went to Raub, which is in Pahang. I was practically bubbling all the way. No, I didn't drive. I was driven!. By a Puan Sri, no less!

Puan Sri Sharifah Sabrina. and she is not your conventional Puan Sri, let me tell you.. You name it, she's been there and done it. From white-water rafting, mountain climbing , jungle trekking, four-wheel drive treasure hunting,( she drives the 4WD) tae-kwan-do black belt holder,aerobics instructor and trainer.... I've no idea what else she does. But I do know that she even learnt how to drive a van and a bus and has a license to prove it. Oh, did I forget to mention that she's an excellent baker and cook? In fact, I actually came to like assam laksa ( which I had previously banned it from my menu as it smelled so fishy) and also how to make a delicious one, from her. She's presently training to climb Mt Kinabalu soon....

It was an hour's journey from Shah Alam and the six of us, namely,Datin Zaleha Samsuddin, Futom Ibahim , Maggi Ehsan, P S Sabrina , Mary Heng and yours truly ( Ha, I just realised that we are a muhibbah bunch ) were in high spirits. It was a pot-luck affair and we arrived at her orchard around 1pm. Dislodging our food there, we got into her 4WD and it was off to a bumpy ride uphill through sharp corners and winding dirt path, complete with deep ravines shouldering the path. I heard someone mention that the other farm owners ( all males) refer to her as the 'Tigress of Raub' as she is often seen driving her orange and black striped 4WD up and down the bumpy roads of the orchard . P S was taking us to the stream which was located a kilometer away from the orchard proper. Futom was beginning to sweat in fear and Datin Zaleha was closing her eyes in prayers. Mary Heng was quite safely lodged in the luggage compartment- thanks to her small frame!- Maggie was bobbing up and down . P S Sabrina was the fearless driver and I was the excited babbling one.

On the way, P S Sabrina drove up an even steeper and curving hill to show us an exclusive private holiday home run by a Mr Felix. Called 'Casabrina', it was a one of a kind resort styled home which also offers you your own butler and cook . Only four units are available and it caters mostly to the wealthy Arabs and the rich and famous kind. Certainly not for the hoi polloi. Each 4 roomed cluster unit is fitted with the latest wi-fi internet access and state-of -the art fittings , an eternity swimming pool (don't know why it called that!) and a outdoor glasss pane-see -the sky- and- the garden- luxury bathroom . It is an ' open concept' styled with a scandinavian theme with wide french windows looking out to beautiful green hills and valley. As it is located up the hill, the view is stunning, to say the least. As only one vehicle can go up at any one time - the road width is such -and no other vehicle can drive down at the same time, privacy is assured for the bathroom user!. The tag? US 2000.00 per night, excluding food. Be my guest.

Back to the orchard. It had a beautiful running stream with clear water gushing down big boulders. It felt cold but a few splashes later, we were all screaming and frolicking in the cool clear water. Rubbing the fine sand and using it as a scrub, soon we looked like we had been to a spa. After a good hour in the stream, we drove back to the orchard proper, feeling hungry. A beautiful kampung styled wooden house greeted us. It was like I was in a holiday resort. complete with a cobbled path leading to it. I took in great gulps of pristine fresh air, unpolluted by the dust and pollution of the city slickers. And the space! I mean, it was ' good to touch the green green grass of home' like ,free of obtrusions and obstructions. Just one kampung styled house ( a beautiful one at that) in the middle of an orchard deep in Raub. How about that?

No one spoke during lunch as we were busy stuffing ourselves as fast as we could. Hunger does brings out the worst in us! The durians tasted heavenly although I could not each much. I'm not a conventional durian enthusiast and the significance of a durian feast was lost on me. I did, however, learned to eat it together with 'pulut and santan' . This tip was courtesy of P S Sabrina herself. It did taste very good but it was a tad too filling . I was practically groaning all the way to the car parked 20 feet away. By then it was almost 4pm when we dragged ourselves to the car . On the way, against our better judgement, we stopped at the famous Bentong ice-kachang shop and filled ourselves silly with the sweet liquid. Needless to say, I couldn't get up from the chair at all and had to be hoisted up!

My sincere and heartful thanks to Puan Sri Sabrina for her generosity and kindness . I admire her zest for life and her willingness to live her life to the fullest as she sees it. I, on the other hand, must start to learn how to ride a bicycle......

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